Pune, September 24 : For the first time in India, prisoners have appeared before a state information commission for appeal under the Right to Information (RTI) Act through video conferencing from various jails.
Yes, the Maharashtra prison department took the lead and made arrangements for this on September 15 and 16.
According to officials, 19 prisoners lodged in Central Jails at Yerwada (Pune), Mumbai, Nagpur, Kolhapur, Thane and Taloja (Navi Mumbai), have appealed before the Maharashtra State Information Commissioner (SIC), Mumbai, after they were not satisfied with replies from various authorities on their RTI applications.
Additional Director General of Police Meeran Borwankar, who is the head of Maharashtra prison department, said,”A total of 37 appeals have been filed by these prisoners before the SIC. They had to appear before the commission to present their side. Accordingly we made arrangements and for the first time in the country, prisoners appeared before SIC through videoconferencing.”
Borwankar believes the step is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s digital India campaign. “The videoconferencing has saved valuable time and manpower required to physically present the prisoner. We hope it will also bring transparency in functioning of the department,” Borwankar said.
Maharashtra prison department comprises nine central prisons, 30 district prisons, 11 open prisons, one open colony and 172 sub-jails. There are over 30,000 prisoners in jails across the state. The prisons in Maharashtra State are constituted under the Prisons Act 1894. The main purpose of establishing the prisons is to confine offenders committing offences under the existing laws and previous laws enacted from time to time.